St. Joe Swim Squad Shows Championship Form In Impressive Win Over Clayton
Angels nearly sweep the entire meet by winning 11 of 12 events, including all three relays and the diving competition, in a 120-65 win over Greyhounds.
CLAYTON -- At the MSHSAA state championship swim meet last February, the St. Joseph's Academy girls team finished a surprising ninth overall and even brought home a state title by winning the 200-yard freestyle relay.
This season, head coach Khannie Dastgah believes she has a team that can place even higher at the state meet and several swimmers that could win individual titles if they continue to progress as they have since last season.
"I'm so lucky to be coaching at St. Joe," Dastgah said. "These girls really put in the work. They practice three hours a day, five days a week. And they have great unity. It's more of a family, than just a team. So it's really satisfying to coach these girls."
That sentiment was probably especially true on Thursday, when St. Joe just obliterated Clayton in a dual meet at the state-of-the-art Center of Clayton pool facility in midtown.
The Angels, who were led by relay state champions Grayson Ram and Grace Stiegemeyer, who both won relay races and individual races on Thursday, cruised to a 120-65 victory over the host Greyhounds.
"Yeah it was a good day," Dastgah said. "I thought we had several girls really swim well today."
Indeed they did, as St. Joe won 11 of the day's 12 events, including all three relay races and the diving competition, where the Angels only had one diver competing, but still took first place against three Clayton divers.
Stiegemeyer, a versatile junior who can swim either the butterfly or freestyle, was one of the big winners on the day, as she had a hand in four St. Joe victories.
She was on two winning relay teams, and then also won the individual 200-yard freestyle and the individual 100-yard butterfly.
The other big winner of the day was Charlotte Cordova, a sophomore, who like Stiegemeyer was on two winning relay teams, and also won two individual events (the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyles) as well.
Ram, who was on those same winning relay teams as Stiegemeyer and Cordova, got her lone individual win in the 500-yard freestyle.
"We're still trying to figure out how we want to set things up with our relays," Dastgah said. "But obviously, we've got some really strong swimmers, and some younger girls doing well."
One young Angel whose performance in particular stood out was freshman diver Karleigh Meek, who won the 1-meter diving competition, even though it was only her first meet since returning from a concussion.
"I was really happy for her," Dastgah said. "She's only had like two practices with us, but she really performed well today. It was nice to see."
St. Joe has now won all four dual meets it has participated in this season, but will face its first really big test of the season on Monday, when the Angels will square off against a highly-regarded Visitation Academy squad.
The Vivettes finished just behind St. Joe at the state meet last year, and have a number of its best swimmers back this year.
St. Joseph's ........ 120
Clayton .............. 65
200 Medley Relay -- St. Joe, 2.02.40.
200 Freestyle -- Grace Stiegemeyer, St. Joe, 2.04.53.
200 Individual Medley -- Dani Skor, Clayton, 2.36.93
50 Freestyle -- Charlotte Cordova, St. Joe, 26.42.
Diving -- Karleigh Meek, St. Joe.
100 Butterfly -- Grace Stiegemeyer, St. Joe, 1.06.70.
100 Freestyle -- Charlotte Cordova, St. Joe, 1.00.39.
500 Freestyle -- Grayson Ram, St. Joe, 5.38.07.
200 Freestyle Relay -- St. Joe, 1.53.30.
100 Backstroke -- Carly Hannick, St. Joe, 1.14.90.
100 Breaststroke -- Madeline Gilstrap, St. Joe, 1.16.90.
400 Freestyle Relay -- St. Joe, 4.11.37.